MINNEAPOLIS - If you grew up any time between 1977 and present day... there's a decent chance you spent some time wishing you could wield a lightsaber.
"I really feel like I'm living those childhood dreams."
But even as a child, Ryan Kappas couldn't imagine his saber fighting skills would take him all the way to ESPN.
"It was very humbling, and it's kind of those things that you think back five to ten years ago and think, there's no way this would ever happen."
That's because The Saber Legion only began their bouts three years ago.
"It started in the backyard... literally, in Robbinsdale, Minnesota."
The Saber Legion owner, Charley Cummings says the backyard didn't hold them for long. Bouts soon moved to the local American Legion. Stories from KARE 11 and others soon got the attention of ESPN which was looking to add some "alternative" sports to a unique day of programming this week.
"Welcome to ESPN 8." "The Ocho." "Hey, it's time now to bring you Saber Legion." "Saber Legion, updated fencing." "You know those devoted people who show up for Star Wars movies five days early? It's them."
"He's halfway correct, only two days, but that was us," Cummings said with a laugh.
The Saber Legion taped the ESPN broadcast earlier this year at a church in Eagan, and despite the obvious nerd jokes they say the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.
"It's kind of like that reaction of, 'Really?!' and then, 'That's so cool!'" said Kappas.
"Once people get a chance to see it, they see the skill that's involved with it and they don't see that it's just sort of a cliche or sort of, just a bunch of guys who are sitting around just trying to wack on each other with expensive flashlights, but actually there is skill involved with it," Cummings said.
So Minnesota is the state of hockey, is it also the state of saber? Is this the hotbed right now?
"To be honest, it really is, and I tell people all the time, it's no coincidence that this came out of the State of Hockey. If you think about it, a lot of our gear is hockey... it is lacrosse, it's sports that were made to be hit by a stick," Cummings said.
These Minnesotans put that to the test at The Saber Legion's third annual tournament in Las Vegas last weekend. The Saber Legion now has charters in more than 40 states an in four different countries. if you'd like to participate or check out an event in-person, click here.